We are pleased to announce two dynamic Pre-Conference Intensives exclusively for youth: Survivor Advocacy and Building Power at In Solidarity We Rise: Healing, Opportunity and Justice for Girls, October 11-13, 2017.

In Solidarity has been created as more than a conference. It has been designed as an opportunity to connect, to be moved and energized, and to strategize together with Young Women as Leaders for Change. Both of the half-day Youth Pre-Conference Intensives are included in the youth registration.

Survivor Advocacy: Transforming Pain Into Power.

Liz S. Alexander, She Dreams of Freedom

This half-day pre-conference intensive will engage participants in exploring the unique contributions survivors bring to advocacy work in the form of direct service, public policy and etc. Through case studies, participants will be exposed to current models of survivor advocacy. Two major outcomes of this workshop are that participants will gain practical tips on how to channel pain and rage into action as well as understand how advocacy work can be a tool for healing..

Liz S. Alexander MA, MSW is a womanist practitioner, social justice advocate and change agent. Liz is the founder of She Dreams of Freedom, a national consulting firm that is committed to improving the outcomes of girls in the criminal and juvenile justice system between the ages of 13-24. SDF specializes in trauma, positive youth development and gender specific and responsive services. In 2017, Liz co founded The Millennial Womanism Project (TMWP) with Rev. Melanie C Jones. Millennial Womanism draws upon a unique womanist epistemological and methodological framework that centers emerging voices of millennial women of faith born between the years 1980-2000. Liz is a member of the expert advisory committee to end the incarceration of girls in NYC as well as a member of the LGBTQI/GNC juvenile justice workgroup at the Administration of Children’s Services (ACS) of New York City. [Learn More]


Building Power: National Young Women’s Advisory Council – A Participatory Governance Program Model For A National Women’s Initiative And Beyond By Girls For Gender Equity.

Joanne Smith, Kylynn Grier & Sarika Kumar
Girls for Gender Equity
Angelique Beluso, Tanya Gumbs, Hope Ghazala & Megan Jean Louis
NYC Young Women’s Advisory Council Members

This half-day pre-conference intensive is an open session designed to bring trans and cis young women of color and gender non-conforming youth through strategies that strengthen sisterhood/siblinghood, develop their civic engagement skills, and build their political power. Members and staff of the Young Women’s Advisory Council (YWAC) will share their framework and lessons learned from developing a participatory process whereby young people engaged in the development of policy recommendations that directly impact their lives.

Joanne N. Smith, founder and Executive Director, moves Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) closer to its mission through strategic advocacy, development, and leadership cultivation. Ms. Smith is a Haitian-American social worker born in NY. A staunch human rights advocate, Smith is the former co-chair of the nation’s first Young Women’s Initiative for girls of color in NYC. She is a steering committee member of Black Girl Movement Conference and a Movement Maker with Move to End Violence -a 10-year initiative designed to strengthen the collective capacity to end gender based violence in the United States. Smith is featured on the summer 2016 Gender Justice issue of YES! Magazine sharing her experience of intersectional feminism. Joanne is an alumna of Hunter Graduate School of Social Work and Columbia Institute for Nonprofit Management. She has co-authored Hey Shorty: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Public Schools and on the Streets. Girls for Gender Equity’s work to combat sexual harassment in schools is featured in the 2014 documentary Anita: Speak Truth to Power. Smith resides in Brooklyn, NY. More information about Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) may be found at ggenyc.org.

As the Policy Manager at Girls for Gender Equity, Kylynn Grier has supported organizational efforts with the Young Women’s Initiative. GGE initiated and co-chaired the New York City Council Young Women’s Initiative, ensuring young women’s leadership through the Young Women’s Advisory Council. GGE is now supporting community organizations in replicating this innovative experiment in participatory governance across the country. Kylynn continues to support GGE’s expanding policy work and is the organization lead as a member of Communities United for Police Reform.

Sarika Kumar (she/her) is one of the program coordinators for the Young Women’s Advisory Council (YWAC) at Girls for Gender Equity. YWAC was launched with the Young Women’s Initiative in New York City, a multi-sector approach to addressing the barriers of young cis and trans women and girls of color and gender non-conforming youth of color. Sarika is passionate about creating spaces that are youth-led and centered. She strives to collectively make political education accessible through the lens of racial, gender, and economic justice. Sarika values the power of affirming spaces that center healing, intersectionality, and lived experience.

Angelique Beluso is an extremely passionate and dedicated reproductive justice trainer, activist, writer and health educator born and raised in Bronx, NY. Her passion stems from her experience growing up in the Bronx as a young Puerto Rican and Filipino woman, where she has witnessed tremendous stigma in her community on the topics of sex, abortion and teen pregnancy. Noticing this, she decided to make activism her career. She is now the Community Organizer for Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New York City, where she manages over 1,500 activists involved in PPNYC’s Activist Council and Youth Organizing chapter, Planned Parenthood Generation. She also currently serves as a part of the Young Women’s Advisory Council for New York City Council’s Young Women’s Initiative where she advocates for programmatic needs, investment and policy changes on behalf of young women of color.

Tanya Gumbs, NYC Young Women’s Advisory Council member, is a college freshman at Manhattanville College. Her pronouns are (She/Her/Hers). She was born in Harlem. She is an activist who uses her personal experiences to relay a message and reflect on issues she really cares about. She is really passionate about Social Justice and implementing change in underserved and underrepresented communities because she is so interested in politics and government relations she is majoring in Pre-Law.

Hope Ghazala is a queer, Muslim, Latinx, Arab-American with a passion for creating spaces that are inclusive and value multicultural experiences. A Social Worker and experienced community capacity builder, Hope received a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Community-Based Practice and Leadership from Fordham University. With experience working in museums, domestic violence shelter systems and the NYC Health Department, Hope has devoted her work to gender, ethnic and health equity. She is skilled in grassroots organizing, youth development, and trauma responsive practices. Hope joined the Young Women’s Advisory Council in September of 2016.

Megan Jean Louis is a college sophomore at the Macaulay Honors College, majoring in Biomedical Ethics and Cross-Cultural Psychology. Megan is very passionate about equity in HealthCare, volunteering and working in that industry for more than five years. She currently works at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, interning for the Palliative Care Unit and doing self-directed research. She also works at her college, making their data more accessible to people with various needs. She is also a part of the Young Women’s Advisory Council for New York City Council’s Young Women’s Initiative where she advocates for programmatic needs with a group of other dedicated young people.


Registration is Open!

Join us for three days of Learning, Strategizing, Connecting and Creating through: Full-day Pre-Conference Intensives; Front Porch Conversations; A Call to Solidarity Strategy Sessions; Deep Dive Learning Opportunities; Innovation in Motion Sessions, and visit our, Un-Exhibit Hall and Self-Care Room.

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Rise In Solidarity Together.

Change Maker, Trail Blazer, Champion, Innovator, Advocate, Ally – which are you? Support the advancement of healing, opportunity and justice for girls and young women by sponsoring the In Solidarity conference.

If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, contact Holly Weems-Ladd at Holly@NationalCrittenton.org or, 503.297.2217.

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